‘Becoming George’s dad was when I started to grow up, and his childhood is filled with extraordinary memories for me’: Larry Lamb, pictured with his son George. Photograph: Courtesy of Larry and George Lamb
His story: Larry Lamb, 66, actor
When George was a kid I had a saddle for him that was fixed to the crossbar of my bicycle. He would sit there with his little feet up in between my arms and we’d ride everywhere around London. Becoming his dad was when I started to grow up, and his childhood is filled with extraordinary memories for me.
When he was about three, George’s mum and I realised we couldn’t live under the same roof. I was working class, from the northern edges of London, and Linda [an entrepreneur], was middle class, from Dundee. I remember it all coming to a head one day when she told me: “You can’t just put a milk bottle on the table; it’s got to go in a jug.” And I thought: “That’s it – we’re from different worlds.”
I moved around the corner from them and we raised George between us – we seem to have done a really good job. We both holiday with George separately. George and I try to take a trip every year: this summer we drove through Spain, and for my 60th he took us walking in the Himalayan foothills. That same year his mum turned 60 and he took her on her dream trip around Italy.
I don’t remember him asking me for money very often, and even as a teenager George was set on making a living for himself. As a student he opened a hamburger stall in the garden of his vegetarian boarding school and it went down very well.
His evolution into somebody who works in the media was all his own doing. His mum and I agreed that one person in the family working in show business was already enough, but I love it when we work together now [they are co-hosting a one-off live radio show].
He often takes the mick out of the way I dress – and he’ll make sure what I’m wearing is fit to leave the house in. So I guess he’s also kind of my stylist.
His story: George Lamb, 33, TV and radio presenter
My dad’s an actor, so he’s had big periods of being skint. But when I needed anything, he’d give me half of what he had. Love, time, finance – whatever it is, he shares.
Fortunately for him, Mum is more the authoritarian, so we’ve always had a matey relationship. We spend more time together than most father and sons, especially in the past few years because of work. When I was presenting Big Brother’s Little Brother and he was doing Gavin & Stacey and EastEnders we were forever at dinners and awards together, and when I started working in showbusiness it was super-helpful having someone who’d been through it. He’s not your man for relationship advice, though – he’s been married three or four times. I tend to go to Mum for that.
When I was doing my A levels, every Friday I would finish at 11am and head to Dad’s in London. He would cook a big fried breakfast and we’d hang out for the day. He’d tell me stories about his life, and I was old enough for him to be candid. At the end of the day we would watch South Park and Dad would laugh so hard that I couldn’t hear the TV. He’d ask me: “What are they saying? What are they saying?” I’d be like: “I dunno, Dad – I can’t hear anything.”
He has been an impressive role model for me. He came from a rough background and left Britain when he was 19 to travel and work – he didn’t return until his 30s. He now speaks four or five languages and has seen a lot of the world; he has a real lust for life. He’s good at taking on a room, but he’s been like that since I was little. Watching him gave me the confidence to do it myself.
You can hear George and Larry’s show at quaker.co.uk/lovemondays, from 7am on 9 December